Europe coronavirus: Second lockdowns loom as cases continue to rise

European leaders trying to push ahead with new coronavirus lockdown measures are facing growing resistence across the continent.

In Spain, ministers are today preparing to place Madrid into a state of emergency so they can force residents to comply with strict Covid travel bans after the capital's highest court shot down the rules on Thursday.

Meanwhile anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of Paris - where bars have been shuttered since Monday, as the cities of Lille, Grenoble, Lyon and Saint-Etienne were placed under similar measures on Thursday evening.

Health minister Olivier Veran also placed hospitals in Paris on alert, saying that 40 per cent of intensive care beds are now occupied by coronavirus patients as 'more and more people [are] infected'.

Case totals across Europe have been rising sharply in recent weeks, driven in large part by mass testing which is now detecting infections that were missed during the first wave.  

Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise rapidly across Europe. Experts caution that a large part of the totals will be down to increased testing, but with deaths and hospital admissions also creeping up, it is thought infections are also spreading more rapidly. The challenge facing leaders now is to determine how much of the increase is down to contagion, and how to respond

Coronavirus cases are continuing to rise rapidly across Europe. Experts caution that a large part of the totals will be down to increased testing, but with deaths and hospital admissions also creeping up, it is thought infections are also spreading more rapidly. The challenge facing leaders now is to determine how much of the increase is down to contagion, and how to respond

In Germany, Angela Merkel is today meeting with the majors of 11 major cities to discuss extra measures that could curb infections, after several days of sustained and rapid increases in cases (pictured, people queue in Berlin for coronavirus tests)

In Germany, Angela Merkel is today meeting with the majors of 11 major cities to discuss extra measures that could curb infections, after several days of sustained and rapid increases in cases (pictured, people queue in Berlin for coronavirus tests)

Michael Mueller, mayor of Berlin, has warned people to avoid large gatherings and take extra precautions on public transport to avoid picking up the disease (pictured, people in Berlin queue for tests)

Michael Mueller, mayor of Berlin, has warned people to avoid large gatherings and take extra precautions on public transport to avoid picking up the disease (pictured, people in Berlin queue for tests)

People wait outside a doctor's practice in Berlin in order to get tested for coronavirus, as Germany records an uptick in cases

People wait outside a doctor's practice in Berlin in order to get tested for coronavirus, as Germany records an uptick in cases

German cases per day

German deaths per day

Germany has seen its coronavirus cases rapidly increase in recent days (left), while deaths have also started to rise (right) though have not kept pace and are well  below the first-wave peak. This is partly due to increased testing capacity picking up mild and moderate infections that were missed during the first wave

However, recent upticks in hospital admissions and deaths suggest the virus is also starting to spread more rapidly than it did in the summer as schools and universities reopen, and people travel back into offices.

The challenge for European leaders now is to determine how much of the rise is down to testing, how much is down to contagion, and how best to respond.

Germany, which has been credited with having one of the best virus responses in the world, recorded another rise in cases on Friday with 4,516 new infections logged, following a 40 per cent jump in infections on Thursday.

Angela Merkel was due to meet virtually with mayors from 11 major cities in the country on Friday to discuss extra measures to bring infections back under control.

Germany's disease control center, the Robert Koch Institute, has warned that a number of cities have passed the threshold of 50 cases per 100,000 residents, seen as a precursor to uncontrolled spread.

Berlin's figure was at 51 per 100,000 residents, while Bremen was at 53.9, and Cologne and Essen were close, with 49.8 and 48.4 per 100,000 respectively, the centre said. 

Berlin's mayor Michael Mueller told reporters Friday that large gatherings had to be avoided and people need to take precautions on public transport, among other things.

People queue outside of a testing facility in Naples, Italy, where infections have been rising in recent days as the country also sees an uptick in infections

People queue outside of a testing facility in Naples, , where infections have been rising in recent days as the country also sees an uptick in infections

A health worker uses a megaphone to speak with people waiting for a coronavirus test in Naples, Italy, early on Friday

A health worker uses a megaphone to speak with people waiting for a coronavirus test in Naples, , early on Friday

Italy has managed to keep its coronavirus case totals low since easing lockdown in May, but is now starting to see its totals trend upwards, with rapid increases in the south (pictured, a testing centre in Naples)

has managed to keep its coronavirus case totals low since easing lockdown in May, but is now starting to see its totals trend upwards, with rapid increases in the south (pictured, a testing centre in Naples)

Italy infections

Italy deaths

has seen cases start to rise in recent days (left), though deaths have not followed suit (right). This is in part down to increased testing exposing more cases than were identified during the first wave, but also in part due to deaths lagging around two weeks behind case increases

The Netherlands also reported another steep rise in cases with more than 5,800 infections reported for the first time in the pandemic, which has seen it become one of the world's infection hotspots when cases are measured against the size of the population.

While the country previously bragged of its mask-free 'intelligent lockdown' approach, ministers are now considering bringing in laws requiring the use of face coverings.

More blame has been laid at the door of the country's testing regime, with Prime Minister Mark Rutte admitting that capacity has fallen well short of

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